Oxford Delivers New Biography in time for 100th Birthday of Former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson

Dec 17, 2012, 13:55 ET from Oxford University Press

Former Director of the LBJ Presidential Library delivers illuminating biography of Lady Bird Johnson

NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It's been five years since Lady Bird Johnson's death and this Saturday, December 22nd, would have been her 100th birthday. Michael Gillette, the former director of the LBJ Presidential Library's Oral History program, conducted more than forty interviews with Lady Bird spanning 20 years, covering the complete personal story of a shy country girl's metamorphosis into one of America's most effective and esteemed First Ladies. These conversations comprise Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History, a collection Cokie Roberts calls "history at its best".

Lady Bird entered the White House under the most undesirable conditions: the young, beloved President Kennedy had just been assassinated; she succeeded Jackie Kennedy, the century's most glamorous First Lady and a cultural icon to whom Lady Bird would undoubtedly be compared; and a tense political climate surrounding the conflict in Vietnam that her husband inherited.  And yet, as Gillette notes, "Lady Bird was able to mobilize influential people and a professional staff to achieve goals important to her, particularly beautifying and conserving the nation's environmental treasures".

She recounts her earlier life and when—after just three months of knowing him—she decided to entwine her fate with the would-be president, Lyndon Baines Johnson.  The former First Lady discusses her education in the political arena, and her experience running LBJ's congressional office during World War II.  She brings readers back to pivotal moments in American history and creates vivid pictures of other First Ladies, including Edith Bolling Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Pat Nixon.

"Michael Gillette's oral history of Lady Bird Johnson is a revealing and fascinating contribution to our understanding of one of America's most appealing First Ladies." says historian Robert Dallek. Lady Bird Johnson demonstrates how instrumental Lady Bird's support and guidance was in each stage of her husband's political ascent and how she herself emerged as a significant political force. 

SOURCE Oxford University Press